There’s almost nothing better than lounging at home on a hot day and sipping a tall, cool glass of lemonade. But wait, what if we added coffee? Believe it or not, some enterprising French soldiers tried precisely that, and in doing so, they created the original iced coffee: Mazagran coffee.
Does the combination of coffee and lemon sound strange to you? Have no fear! The tart citrus, honey sweetness, and bold coffee pair wonderfully. This iced coffee is a perfect refreshing drink as you settle into the humid days of summer.
Read on as we guide you through what it is and how to make it.
What You’ll Need
- 8 ounces of fresh-brewed coffee or cold brew coffee
- 1 teaspoon honey, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice, or half of a small lemon
- A tall glass with a 16-ounce capacity
- A spoon for stirring
At A Glance
One 16-ounce glass
A few notes:
- Dark roast is the best choice for this drink because its bold flavor holds up well to the lemon and honey. However, a delicate light roast can also yield an interesting result if that is more to your taste.
- You can also use decaf coffee if you plan to enjoy this drink later in the day.
How to Make Mazagran Coffee
Black coffee and lemon aren’t the ingredients you’d think to pair together, but in this iced coffee, they’re a surprisingly delicious match made in heaven – as refreshing as lemon and iced tea but with a bigger caffeine kick.
First invented in 1840 by French soldiers under siege in northern Algeria, this unusual combination is a delicious relic of European history that you can easily enjoy at home (1).
If you’re looking for more coffee recipes from around the world, why not check out our list of various coffee drinks? It features a brown sugar-and-spiced cafe de olla recipe from Mexico, a Brazilian cafezinho, Vietnamese iced coffee, and Viennese coffee from Austria.
Step 1: Brew Your Hot Coffee
For this recipe, feel free to use any brewing method except Turkish coffee. When making it at Home Grounds, we usually opt for the Moka pot, which yields a strong coffee with a full body. A French Press produces a similar result, or you can pull a double shot of espresso and dilute it to 8 ounces with cold water.
You can also vary the roast according to what you like. We prefer a darker roast in this cold coffee beverage, as it stands up well to the lemon and honey.
Once the coffee is brewed, mix in the honey to add a little sweetness. Start with one teaspoon, then add a bit more at a time to suit your taste. Different coffees may have more or less inherent sweetness than others, so don’t be surprised if you need to alter the recipe depending on what you brew.
Let the coffee and honey cool as you prepare the rest of the drink.
Pro tip: To simplify this drink, you can buy prepared cold brew or cold brew concentrate from your grocery store and skip this step altogether.
Step 2: Freshly Squeeze Your Lemon Juice
Squeeze two tablespoons of lemon juice into a bowl. While the amount of juice varies per lemon, this is most often half a lemon.
Be sure to roll your lemon over a countertop to make it easier to squeeze. Then, pierce it with a fork and squeeze until it’s juiced. You can strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve to remove all the pulp and seeds.
Alternatively, if you’re entertaining and are making this iced coffee for a crowd, juice your lemons in a stand mixture by mixing them with the mixer’s paddle attachment until they give up their juice (2). Then strain the results.
While fresh lemons are always best, you can use bottled lemon juice in this recipe.
Pro tip: if you want to make your iced coffee a bit more special for you or your guests, simply add a twist of lemon or a lemon peel. Watch the bartenders at Gray Goose Vodka demonstrating how to do this with a channel knife here.
Step 3: Assemble Your Mazagran Coffee
Add ice to a tall, 16-ounce glass. Make sure to choose a glass that is sturdy and tempered. Pour the cooled, sweetened coffee and lemon juice into your drinking glass and stir the mixture. Optionally, garnish it with a slice of lemon or a lemon twist.
Pro tip: If you’re serving adults only, you can add rum. In this Portuguese variation, put the brewed coffee, ice cubes, lemon juice, a shot of white rum, and a few mint leaves into a cocktail shaker. Give it a good shake, and then strain it into a tall glass over ice with a lemon slice.
Mazagran coffee is the perfect drink for sipping solo on a hot summer’s day or serving to guests at an afternoon garden party. Its unusual list of ingredients is sure to spark conversation, and while it feels formal, now you know just how simple it is to prepare!
Did you try this recipe or a variation? Let us know how you made this drink your own in the comments.
What Type of Lemon Should I Use for This Coffee Lemonade?
You can use any type of lemon you prefer in this coffee lemonade. Meyer lemons will be sweeter than Lisbon lemons, for instance, but the other four varieties are nearly identical in flavor (3).
Can I use Sugar Substitutes in Place of Honey?
You can use sugar substitutes instead of honey in your Mazagran cold brew coffee. Liquid sweeteners like maple syrup, agave syrup, or simple syrup dissolve best in cold drinks and make it more convenient to adjust the sweetness. Use low-calorie sugar alternatives like Stevia or sucralose if you’re worried about caloric intake.
Can I Use Coffee Ice Cubes?
Yes, you can use coffee ice cubes. These will give your Mazagran cold brew coffee an even more intense aroma, and they won’t dilute the drink as they melt. Just freeze brewed coffee in an ice cube tray to prepare coffee ice cubes.
Can I Use Instant Coffee?
Yes, you can use instant coffee in a Mazagran. Instant coffee and bottled lemon juice are great ways to reduce the time spent preparing your iced coffee. Because instant coffee can be bitter, consider adding salt to the coffee, which is a clever trick to reduce bitterness.
- iupilon. (2021, December 26). Can Hot Coffee Break Glass. Iupilon; Iupilon. https://iupilon.com/can-hot-coffee-break-glass/
- Laskow, S. (2016, June 7). How a Siege in Algeria Sold France on Iced Coffee. Atlas Obscura; Atlas Obscura. https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/how-a-siege-in-algeria-sold-france-on-iced-coffee
- Skaria, A. (2019, March 31). 4 Common Types of Lemons You’ll Find in Your Local Grocery Store. US Citrus; US Citrus. https://uscitrus.com/blogs/citrus-delight-blog/4-common-types-of-lemons-youll-find-in-your-local-grocery-store